AN- Thank you for the reviews and follows! I did my best to reply to all of them! Again sorry for the wait.
Gibbs studied Tony's unmoving face. It was unnerving to see him so still. An unhelpful voice in his head reminded him that Tony might have to move less if there was paralysis. He had been assured that the surgery had gone as best as it could given the circumstances, but it was hard to believe that while looking at Tony's pale face that lightly shined with sweat. He was told that they could not tell if there was any damage to nerve endings until he woke up, which should happen soon.
Gibbs let out a long sigh and scrubbed a hand over his face. He needed Tony to wake up for his sake; for Shannon's. He leaned forward and clasped Tony's hand between two of his.
"You know how I told you before that you looked like a squirrel on coffee? Yeah, well, do you want me to break rule six? Fine. I'm sorry. Can you wake up now?" He half expected some sort of response and waited for a minute before sinking back into his chair.
He didn't remember nodding off; he hadn't thought it was possible considering the caffeine he had been pumping himself with. But sure enough, he opened his eyes slowly and stretched his pained neck. He glanced across from himself at Tony and felt his heart skip a beat when he found two vibrant green eyes staring back at him. It took every undercover case's practice for him to not show it on his face, instead giving him a small smile.
"Good morning, sleeping beauty," Gibbs greeted.
"Um, excuse you, I was awake before you." Tony argued, but it was half-hearted. He seemed to occasionally glance around the room, as if searching for all the exits. Right. He hates hospitals, Gibbs reminded himself. Gibbs heart clenched with empathy and concern for the younger man. He reached his hand out and took Tony's in his.
"Can you.." Gibbs started, hoping that Tony catch on.
"Move my leg? Not currently." Tony told him with his voice light but his face contorted with emotions.
"Tony-" Gibbs started.
"They don't know if it's permanent, Gibbs," Tony interrupted. "They said they can't be sure until all of the medicines wear off, and then I still can do physical therapy." Gibbs would've smiled if there had not been such circumstances. It sounded like Tony, the one in a hospital bed and unable to move his leg, was attempting to calm Gibbs down.
"You are stubborn enough to make your leg work again," Gibbs reassured him. Tony smiled, but it still didn't quite reach his eyes. He was fidgeting with the sheet that rested on his lap, and his uninjured leg was moving back and forth. He looked like he wanted to stand up and sign himself out of the hospital, and he probably would have if he could move his leg. But that wasn't the only problem. As Gibbs got a better a look at him, he noted a thick layer of perspiration on his forehead and his cheeks flushed, showing signs of a fever. He put the back of his hand to Tony's forehead and scowled when he tried to pull away.
"You have a fever, Tony."
"The doctor told me that I was showing early signs of an infection."
"You really did a number on your leg," Gibbs observed.
"Hey," Tony defended. "I was simply playing football and minding my own business when BOOM! I'm about to catch the ball and-" Tony probably would have gone into great detail of what happened, but as he inhaled the air caught on his throat. His chest heaved as he erupted into a harsh coughing fit. Gibbs swiftly stood up and slipped an arm beneath Tony's shoulders. He pulled him up into a sitting position to hopefully assist with his breathing, but it did not seem to have much effect. Finally, it passed, leaving him exhausted.
"Gibbs, I don't feel so good," he said as he sagged against his pillows. Gibbs checked his temperature again and decided he was not comfortable with it.
"Tony, I'm going to get a nurse, alright?" Tony mumbled something, but too quiet for Gibbs to hear. "What did you say?"
"Just don't leave, 'kay?" Tony repeated.
"I won't, I promise. I'll be right back," Gibbs promised. He gave him one last glance before hurrying into the hallway. He caught a nearby nurse's attention and waved her to come inside. She quickly came inside and shortly assessed Tony, looking for the issue.
"What's wrong?" she asked with genuine concern evident in her voice.
"His temperature is elevated, and he's been coughing." Gibbs explained while again taking Tony's hand is his own. The nurse produced a thermometer from a bin in the corner of the room before pressing it onto Tony's forehead. She frowned as she pulled it away.
"His temperature is 102.3. I'm going to assume that his infection has developed."
"How does a broken leg get infected?" Gibbs asked, confused. The nurse studied the clipboard attached to the end of Tony's bed before replying.
"It was an open fracture. It must have been exposed to either fungi or bacteria. While this is unfortunate, it is not terrible. I'll administer some antibiotics, but if his temperature increases any more, we'll consult his doctor." She messed around with the IV that snaked into his arm before returning her attention to Gibbs. "Don't worry, your son will be fine." She left the room before it even occurred to Gibbs her mistake.
"Hey Gibbs?" Tony asked quietly.
"How'd you know to come?"
"One of friends called. We came as soon as they did." Gibbs explained.
"Kelly was too tired so Shannon and her got a hotel."
"Thank you," Tony said softly.
"For what?" Gibbs brow furrowed.
"For coming. Hate the hospital." Gibbs smiled at Tony.
"I know you do."
"Gibbs, I'm scared." Tony admitted after a pause.
"Tony, you don't need to be. There's a good chance you'll be able to move your leg eventually. You just need to be patient. And if you can't, it's not the end of the world." Gibbs hoped he was coming across as encouraging. It was easier considering it was Tony, but he always found situations like these difficult.
"Gibbs, you know all of my careers I am considering require me to have use of my leg." It was true, and Gibbs couldn't deny it. However, he was saved from responding because Shannon and Kelly chose that moment to arrive.
"Hi, Kelly!" Tony exclaimed immediately. She eagerly ran up and jumped up onto the hospital bed, narrowly missing his leg. Thankfully, Tony didn't seem to mind. Kelly snuggled up beneath his arm and pressed herself into his side. Tony almost imperceptibly winced, reminding Gibbs that Tony was probably covered in bruises from the tackle.
"Hey, Kelly, be careful. Don't hurt Tony." Gibbs reminded her gently.
"It's okay, Gibbs. Kelly just missed me, isn't that right?" Kelly bounced her head up and down vigorously before wrapping an arm around his torso.
"You don't visit anymore!" She complained loudly.
"I'm sorry, Kelly. I've been really busy." Tony ruffled Kelly's hair and she giggled loudly. Tony beamed and opened his mouth to say something more, but he was plagued with another coughing fit. He rolled away from Kelly and coughed roughly into the crook of his arm. Shannon helped Kelly get down from the bed while Gibbs helped Tony get through the fit. He hefted Tony into an upright position and murmured soft words of encouragement that only Tony could hear. When he was finally done, everyone was on looking with concern.
"Should I go get a nurse?" Shannon asked nervously. Tony weakly waved the idea off.
"I'm fine. Promise."
"That's not true," Gibbs interjected. "You have an infection and you can't even move your leg." Gibbs words came out harsher than intended and Tony's gaze fell down to his leg. Shannon gasped at the new information, and Kelly, who wasn't completely unaware of what was happening, clutched her mom's hand. "I'm sorry-" Gibbs began.
"Rule six, Gibbs," Tony interrupted. "And it's alright." He looked over at Shannon and Kelly. "They are not worried about the infection. It'll go away. As for not being able to move it, they're not sure about that. It could go away once the meds wear off, but we just can't know. I'll be alright."
"Tony, that doesn't sound alright to me." Shannon told him.
"Honestly,-" he broke off into another coughing fit. It was much shorter than the previous two, but it took more effort. When he finished he fell back against the bed. "'m tired."
Gibbs sent Shannon a look that she understood instantly. Silently, she took Kelly's hand and led her out of the room to leave them alone.
"Get some rest, Tony." Gibbs told him kindly. Tony, whose eyes were already only half-mast, nodded. Within minutes he was curled in a loose ball and snoring quietly.
Don't own NCIS, but I still deserve reviews. What do you want to happen next?